TitleCold War capital
NameMacDougall, Carla Elizabeth (author), Davis, Belinda (chair), Kaplan, Temma (internal member), Lees, Andrew (internal member), Eley, Geoff (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
DescriptionThis dissertation explores the relationship between urban space, protest, and identity in West Berlin by investigating the politics of urban renewal in the Berlin district of Kreuzberg. In 1963, the West Berlin government announced a comprehensive program of urban renewal, which entailed the clearance of the nineteenth-century housing stock, its replacement with modern apartments, and a clear separation of urban functions. As was the case across West Germany and in West Berlin, modernist urban planning emerged in the late 1950s as a potent spatial expression and political tool of postwar capitalism and democracy. Given its status as a divided city, Berlin more than any other German city became a key site in postwar developments and discourses of modernization, urbanism, capitalism, and democracy. By the early 1970s, plans to transform and rehabilitate Berlin’s urban environment became inextricably linked to broader West German fears and anxieties about “foreignness,” the urban poor, and political radicalism. In this context, the cultural and political importance of Kreuzberg as a locus of West German anxieties cannot be underestimated. In the same period, vocal opposition and protest against the city’s renewal plans took shape revealing the interplay between the urban environment and the possibilities of political action in postwar German history. This study sets out to investigate the historical counter-narratives beneath the iconic image of West Berlin as the symbolic capital of the “free world.” I argue against customary representations of left-alternative protest in 1970s and 80s West Berlin as the work of a radical group of self-indulgent squatters, punks, eco-freaks, and dropouts, and offer a different reading of these ‘anti-establishment’ actors. My research demonstrates that this brand of urban radicalism of 1980s West Berlin had its roots in long-standing, broad-based political and cultural struggle with parallels in other Western European cities, all of which were attempts to redefine urban spaces from below.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Carla Elizabeth MacDougall
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.